Zacks: Analysts Anticipate Quest Diagnostics (DGX) to Post $1.53 Earnings Per Share

Wall Street brokerages expect that Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) will report $1.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Eight analysts have issued estimates for Quest Diagnostics’ earnings. The lowest EPS estimate is $1.41 and the highest is $1.69. Quest Diagnostics reported earnings of $1.33 per share in the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year-over-year growth rate of 15%. The business is scheduled to report its next earnings results before the market opens on Thursday, April 19th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Quest Diagnostics will report full-year earnings of $6.59 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.55 to $6.65. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the company will report earnings of $6.87 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $6.63 to $7.12. Zacks’ earnings per share calculations are a mean average based on a survey of research firms that that provide coverage for Quest Diagnostics.

Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 1st. The medical research company reported $1.40 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.37 by $0.03. Quest Diagnostics had a return on equity of 15.41% and a net margin of 10.00%. The firm had revenue of $1.94 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.93 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.31 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 4.0% on a year-over-year basis.



Several equities analysts recently issued reports on DGX shares. Credit Suisse Group raised Quest Diagnostics from a “neutral” rating to an “outperform” rating and set a $107.00 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, February 13th. Evercore ISI assumed coverage on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Thursday, January 4th. They issued an “in-line” rating and a $103.00 price target on the stock. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $110.00 price target on shares of Quest Diagnostics in a report on Tuesday, January 16th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, March 7th. Finally, Argus raised shares of Quest Diagnostics from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and upped their price target for the company from $104.14 to $116.00 in a report on Wednesday, March 7th. Fourteen investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $108.84.

NYSE DGX opened at $100.25 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76, a quick ratio of 1.15 and a current ratio of 1.24. Quest Diagnostics has a 1 year low of $90.10 and a 1 year high of $112.96. The firm has a market capitalization of $13,436.29, a P/E ratio of 18.56, a PEG ratio of 1.87 and a beta of 0.70.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, April 18th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, April 4th will be paid a dividend of $0.50 per share. This is a positive change from Quest Diagnostics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.45. This represents a $2.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.00%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, April 3rd. Quest Diagnostics’s dividend payout ratio is presently 37.04%.

In related news, SVP Catherine T. Doherty sold 21,294 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, January 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.00, for a total value of $2,214,576.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 90,709 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,433,736. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, SVP Jon R. Cohen sold 83,669 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $104.20, for a total transaction of $8,718,309.80. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 115,426 shares in the company, valued at $12,027,389.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 228,147 shares of company stock worth $24,032,439. Corporate insiders own 1.75% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. lifted its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 10.3% in the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 36,121 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $3,558,000 after buying an additional 3,359 shares in the last quarter. Wagner Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Quest Diagnostics in the 4th quarter valued at about $106,000. Colonial Trust Advisors lifted its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 31.7% in the 4th quarter. Colonial Trust Advisors now owns 90,644 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $8,928,000 after buying an additional 21,806 shares in the last quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB lifted its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 5.8% in the 4th quarter. Xact Kapitalforvaltning AB now owns 30,839 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $3,037,000 after buying an additional 1,682 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV lifted its stake in Quest Diagnostics by 5,451.2% in the 4th quarter. Massmutual Trust Co. FSB ADV now owns 8,993 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $1,546,000 after buying an additional 8,831 shares in the last quarter. 88.63% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Quest Diagnostics Company Profile

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated provides diagnostic testing information and services in the United States and internationally. The company's Diagnostic Information Services business segment develops and delivers diagnostic testing information and services, such as routine testing, non-routine and advanced clinical testing, gene-based and esoteric testing, anatomic pathology, and other diagnostic information services.

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